Kilauea: 20 years on, it's still erupting | Science News

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Kilauea: 20 years on, it's still erupting

By
9:03am, January 28, 2003

As of Jan. 3, Hawaii's Kilauea volcano has been erupting continuously for 2 decades. During that period, this Energizer Bunny of volcanic activity has repaved more than 110 square kilometers of mountainside, as well as 13 km of local highways.

Lava that has flowed 10 km or more to reach the Pacific has created about 2.2 km² of new oceanfront property and black-sand beaches. At some spots along the coast, hardened lava is 25 meters thick. In all, Kilauea has coughed up more than 2.3 cubic kilometers of molten rock since 1983.

Despite the longevity of Kilauea's eruption, lava output remains high, says Don Swanson of the U.S. Geological Survey's Hawaiian Volcano Observatory near Hilo. Each day, the volcano produces nearly 350,000 cubic meters of lava–that's about 45,000 dump truck loads–and emits 1,800 tons of sulfur dioxide gas. This noxious gas reacts with water vapor, sea spray, dust, and other atmospheric constituents to form volcanic smog, also known

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